Precious Metals Advance

From Associated Press

Precious-metals futures prices advanced sharply Tuesday as traders remained worried about the state of the economy.

Silver was up about 30 cents an ounce, while gold advanced $5.50 or more on the Commodity Exchange in New York.

On other markets, oil was mixed, pork futures posted strong gains while cattle were mostly lower and soybeans and grains were mixed.

The weakness in the dollar and a late, sharp decline in interest rate futures touched off a flight to precious metals, said Steve Platt, an analyst in Chicago with Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.

Also, he said, there were rumors that some banks were about to make an announcement about writing down Latin American loans.

"All that combined to make a nervous tone for the investor and brought renewed buying in precious metals," said Platt.

Gold settled $5.50 to $6.40 higher with the contract for delivery in May at $477.10 an ounce and silver was 29 cents to 30.3 cents higher with May at 933.6 cents an ounce.

The June Treasury bond contract at the Chicago Board of Trade lost 1 19/32 points and settled at 88 7/32 points.

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